Final Fantasy XVI is the latest game to be hit by COVID-related development delays, with the game’s producer Naoki Yoshida announcing in a letter posted to Twitter that work on the upcoming PlayStation 5 RPG has been set back by about six months. Furthermore, Yoshida announced that the next major reveal for the upcoming title — originally promised for sometime in 2021 — is now being pushed out to sometime in spring 2022.
It’s not too surprising that Final Fantasy XVI has been hit by delays. As the first flagship Final Fantasy game for a next-generation console, the development process is a massive effort spanning development teams around the world. “In an effort to offset the effects of COVID-19, we’ve had to decentralize that workforce by permitting staff to tackle their assignments from home,” Yoshida’s letter explains. “This has unfortunately hampered communication from the Tokyo office, which, in turn, has led to delays in — or in extreme cases, cancellations of — asset deliveries from our outsource partners.”
Still, the delay means that what’s already been a long wait for Final Fantasy fans eager to see more of the upcoming title will be stretching even longer, especially considering that Final Fantasy XVI was first revealed in September 2020, before the PlayStation 5 had even launched. Since that initial reveal, there still hasn’t been a new trailer, any more information on the game, or even an estimated release window.
Final Fantasy XV — the last numbered release in the main series of the franchise — was released over five years ago in November 2016. Square Enix has kept players busy in the interim, though, with more recent releases like Final Fantasy VII Remake and the ongoing expansions for its online MMO, Final Fantasy XIV — whose most recently expansion, Endwalker, is in such high demand that Square Enix had to suspend sales of the games to try to mitigate server queues. (Yoshida is also the producer and director for Final Fantasy XIV, in addition to his work on Final Fantasy XVI.)
Still, there is hope on the horizon for Final Fantasy fans: Yoshida’s letter notes that the team has spent most of 2021 addressing its COVID-related delays and plans to “better focus” on things like improving the game’s graphics, combat mechanics, cutscenes, and more going forward, ahead of its “next big reveal” in spring 2022.